A new report out from Brookings confirms what many in Connecticut might have suspected: science, technology, engineering and math skills are vital to more than just universities and pharma companies. In fact, the study estimates 20 percent of all jobs -- about 26 million around the nation -- are dependent on a high level of skill in one of the STEM disciplines. That's a huge increase over previous estimates.
Connecticut lawmakers have passed a “first-in-the-nation” law, mandating the labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs in food products. It’s headed to the Governor for his signature, but that doesn’t mean it goes into effect anytime soon.
Passage by the state house was the final step in a convoluted series of maneuvers that included a bipartisan agreement reached over the weekend. It requires any food meant for human consumption to have a label that says “Produced with Genetic Engineering.”
Vegetables that are genetically modified to resist pests have become a part of our daily diet, whether we like it or not. Several states have been considering legislation that would require the labeling of GMO products, but Connecticut could be the first to pass such a law. Opponents of the bill say there’s no health risk, and a law like this would pass on higher prices to consumers.
The legislature is considering a bill that would allow students to opt out of dissecting a dead animal at school. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. State Representative Diana Urban supports the bill. "There are students who actually avoid going to biology class because they object to using an actual animal in their dissection...And I know there's a lot of teasing that goes on in the classes." Urban says students should have a way to choose to use a computer model or simulation instead. Some high schools already allow the choice, while others specifically don't.
Pennsylvania is no stranger to controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution. When the school district in the town of Dover required creationism be taught alongside evolution, it sparked a national debate. Ultimately, a federal court ruled that intelligent design is religious theory and not a part of science.
Eight years later, a study by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has found faith-based theories are still taught in Pennsylvania public schools and evolution often isn’t taught robustly, if at all.
How is science serving us? And how do we keep kids interested in the field? Those are the big questions we’re tackling today on the program with a panel of scientists and educators.
Microbiologist Arturo Casadevall says “all the major problems facing humanity are scientific problems” -- problems like climate change, pandemics, meteors. He says we need good scientists to deal with these problems. But how do we train the next generation of scientists?
Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from doctor recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that Pluto was a planet. For decades, we were convinced that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing. But it turns out there’s an order to the state of knowledge, an explanation for how we know what we know. Samuel Arbesman is an expert in the field of scientometrics—literally the science of science, and he’ll join us to look at The Half-Life of Facts.
Everybody gets knocked off course. How do you rebalance in an unpredictable world? Bruce Clements joins Faith to talk about the art of restoring balance. Are there go-to tactics that work for most people? Or is the answer different depending on what happens to you? What can we learn from others? How do you get perspective when the clear mind you need is clouded and confused?
Drug giant Pfizer says it’s going to tear down 750,000 square feet of unused laboratory space on its Groton campus. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the move comes after frantic efforts in recent months to find a reuse for the facility.
An 8-month-old harbor seal pup has successfully recovered from a flipper amputation and is now on view at Mystic Aquarium.
She's called Pup 49, and when she came to Mystic Aquarium last summer she was in pretty bad shape.
"Pup 49 was very thin, she came in with a respiratory infection and she had lots of wounds all over her body, but very severe wounds on her rear flippers," said Mystic Aquarium veterinarian Dr. Allison Tuttle. She added that the wounds got very infected over time.
We all know the story. Monkeys in a science lab, top secret research, something goes terribly wrong. It’s no surprise that most cinematic attempts to depict research like this ends up focusing on what happens to the humans.
But what about the ethics of this research, and what it means for the test subjects? In many cases, chimpanzees have been seen as viable in research because of their close relationship to humans.
Today, we’re talking about ice --- and no, not because of today’s weather.
But the icy regions of our planet are telling us important information about our climate. Ice locks in historical data that researchers are just starting to unlock. They’re finding greenhouse gases trapped during the industrial revolution and even the results of nuclear arms testing.
Dr. David Hafler is chairman of Yale's Department of Neurology. He's been studying multiple sclerosis for several decades. His lab looks at T-cells known as "helper cells," which are meant to assist the immune system, but do the opposite in diseases like Type 1 diabetes. He says the cells went wild when they removed them from blood and added salt: "The surprise of the study was the degree to which salt could induce as much inflammation both in the mouse and in vitro."
Is scientific research unbiased and objective, or have money and politics gotten in the way? We've seen a steady stream of books charging scientists with the inability to deliver unbiased information. Today we'll explore this question with science journalist and host of NPR's Science Friday Ira Flatow.
When a meteor exploded in the sky above Russia’s Ural mountains, damaging cities and injuring thousands, at first it seemed like an event out of a movie, about alien invasion or a nuclear attack - or the end of the world.
Ultimately - we learned that it was simply a natural phenomenon that occurs from time to time - if very rarely. But just how rare is this type of celestial visitor? And are we prepared for the risk?
It seemed this week that we were living in a Jonathan Franzen novel -- or maybe a collaboration between Franzen and his long-departed buddy David Foster Wallace. A cruise ship so impaired that passengers spent days pooping in bags. A flurry of accusations back and forth between a great newspaper and the inventor of an electric car.
From a tattooed young woman in the Bay Area trying to splice a fish’s glow-in-the-dark gene into common yogurt (all done in her kitchen using salad spinners) to a space fanatic on the brink of developing the next generation of telescopes from his mobile home, Jack Hitt's Bunch of Amateurs not only tells the stories of people in the grip of a passion but argues that America’s history is bound up in a cycle of amateur surges. Hitt is our guest.